Well, I just finished reading your “Bible Only” replies, and I must say I am quite saddened. Here is a young man who only today mentioned to me on Trinity that we don’t have “much writing” from the first five centuries of the Christian church telling me how I failed to even prove one point in my rebuttal! Incredible indeed! I sometimes wonder how much of my posts to you even get read. Let’s clear a few things up right at the start:
FIRST: I’ve invited you to my office more than once to examine the original sources for yourself. I repeat the offer. You are simply utterly ignorant of the historical sources on this issue, Scott. Ignorance is not bad, as long as you don’t flaunt it. You flaunted it pretty wildly in your replies.
SECOND: I am not saying, nor have I said, that Romanism is *identical* to Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses. What I have said, and what I continue to say, is that in regards to the claim of “authority” there is no substantive difference between the claims of Rome and those of Salt Lake City or Brooklyn, NY. Each group says the exact same thing: “we are the only ones with the authority to interpret Scripture, so you have to believe what we say since we have the authority.” Each group says that you cannot hold them to the standard of Scripture, since only they can interpret Scripture (as if God’s Word is so confusing that nobody but they can understand it!). If you wish to disprove the analogy, then do so– don’t just get in a huff about it, show where it is wrong–document what you say!
THIRD: You asked for more citations. Fine. I’d be glad to do so. But what would the use be? If I said, “Justin, in his “Dialogue” says…” would you know where to look for this information? Would you even be willing, if need be, to request photocopies of the information, of maybe even come to my office to look at the book? Would you even know in which century Justin lived? You want documentation? Great, I’m real good at that. But, you’d better be prepared to do your homework, Scott, for now *I* shall press hard the same request–document what you say. Give me references to standard sources to which I can refer. If we wish to be fair, then we must be balanced.
FOURTH: I have already posted to you the fact that I never wrote on points 20-25–in fact, I’ve told you that more than once. You did not reply to the original 19 points, so I did not see any reason to “beat a dead horse” any farther. I shall reply to them as time permits.
FIFTH AND FINALLY: I have yet to receive any cogent, rational, or documented rebuttal to the following information: my posts on “ordain” in regards to lexical data, syntactical structure, and so on; my post on 2 Thessalonians 2:15, similar to the above; most recent post on “avad” and the worship of images. You seem to feel that my posts “utterly fail” to address the issues, so, I must assume, that you have been “holding out” on me with far more information, documentation, data, etc., than is found in my own posts to you. I look forward to this information.
Now, on to your replies.
POINT #1: First, how do you know that He didn’t tell the Apostles to write? What if He did? What does it matter if He didn’t? The fact is that they did, and what they wrote was Scripture. What they wrote was not “different” than what they preached, nor “less” than what they preached. The New Testament is simply the written record of the content of their preaching. It does not differ (hence any teaching that *does* differ is in error) nor is it lacking anything at all, for, as I cited in my earlier replies, the NT writers could not only say that God has granted to us *everything* necessary to life and godliness, but Paul could tell Timothy that the OT Scriptures alone were “able to make one wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Hence, the point being made by the writer of the file is simply another “red herring”–it is irrelevant to the question, “Is the Word of God (which is eternally settled in the heavens, Psalm 119:89) sufficient and complete without any human addition by the Roman church?” BTW, yes God promised the Holy Spirit, the “other Comforter”, to be with us forever. This same Holy Spirit inspired the very words of Scripture–why then does this writer imply that the resultant words are so obtuse as to be unintelligible to the person of even an average intellect? Could it be because this writer follows a man who claims a name/title (“Vicar of Christ”) that is actually proper only for the Holy Spirit Himself?
POINT #2: Well, as to how many of the apostles wrote Scripture, when I used the term “minority” I was referring to the specific apostles themselves, which would be only Matthew, John, and Peter. James was not one of the original apostles; nor was Jude, Mark, Luke, or even Paul. But, that’s beside the point.
In fact, this whole point is beside the point. As I pointed out, it matters not whether God chose to use one man, or several men, to write Scripture. Tell me, Scott, if we use your logic, then you must have a problem with the fact that God chose Moses to write the Pentateuch, rather than using all the elders of Israel, right? You wrote, “…if God had intended that reading of scriptures be the ONLY authority, all the Apostles would have written something.” Why? First, no one said that “reading of scriptures” is the only authority–that is a misrepresentation. What we say is that the written Word of God is complete and authoritative; it lacks nothing, and is not given its authority by a church (the church derives its authority from the Word) nor is there a second source of authority outside of its purview. This, of course, is not what the author wants his readers to clearly understand, for if it is placed in such clear language (as the Reformers were want to do!), people could see what the real issue was, and how the Roman church was claiming for itself power and authority that was nowhere to be found in Scripture!
POINT #3: The original file asked, “Was it (a) teaching or a Biblereading church that Christ founded?” As I pointed out, this is an “artificial distinction.” That is, it is not either/or but both/and. The Church of Christ has, as a gift of grace, the Bible as sole rule and authority in spiritual matters. The Church then teaches, preaches, and proclaims the message found in that Bible to all people everywhere. The teaching is based upon, and derived from, the Bible. Hence, again, the whole point is logically a nonsequittor.
Now, you wrote, “Preaching is by word of mouth, not by written epistles.” Oh really? Ever read 1 Corinthians? That isn’t preaching? Clearly, it is a vain attempt to set “preaching” and “writing” in opposition to one another, as if Isaiah didn’t preach that which we have in the book of Isaiah! If you wish to substantiate this point, Scott, then you will have to logically demonstrate a difference between preaching orally and preaching in writing in regards to content, etc.
POINT 4: You seemed to mis-type the “comment” made in the original file at this point: the author said, “How would it have been possible for second century Christians to practice Our Lord’s religion, if private interpretation of an UNAVAILABLE and only PARTIAL ACCOUNT of Christ’s teaching were indispensable?” Surely you can see the many problems with this question. First, it again ignores the role of the Old Testament. Secondly, what does the author mean by “unavailable.” Does he mean unavailable before its writing, or unavailable before the Roman church “draws from the store of tradition” and sets forth new dogma? Unavailable to whom, when? Thirdly, again, what is this “private interpretation” stuff? The passage that you cite later has nothing to do with “private interpretation” in the sense of being able to be led by the Spirit of God to understand the Word of God without the Roman Pontiff telling me what I should believe and think; as the NIV renders it, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The emphasis of the passage has to do with where the Scriptures come from, and why they are so trustworthy (they don’t have their origin in man). But, as I cited in my rebuttal of this point, John wrote, “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing